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Island playwright predicts future where people plug into ‘hopped-up’ internet

TheatreOne presents staged reading of ‘Stream’ by David Gow at the Port Theatre
Chemainus-based playwright David Gow will unveil his new play Stream in a staged reading in the Port Theatre lobby. (Photo submitted)

When Chemainus-based playwright David Gow started writing his play Stream 20 years ago, he said people called his vision of the future “extremely far-fetched.” It turns out it was just ahead of its time.

In Stream, the internationally produced playwright and filmmaker envisions a world where the surface of the Earth is uninhabitable, humanity lives in “survival domes” and entertainment is streamed via a “hopped-up version of the internet” in which audiences can feel what the performers experience through an adrenal connection.

“As I continued to work on it in the last year and months, I noticed that the world was catching up to what I was imagining and I thought that was rather strange,” Gow said.

Over the past two decades as Gow busied himself with other projects, Stream sat to the side, unfinished. It remained that way until TheatreOne artistic director and dramaturge Nicolle Nattrass reached out to Gow to see if he had any work he wanted to feature in TheatreOne’s Emerging Voices staged reading series.

He said that little push is sometimes all it takes for him to finish a play.

“There’s an enormously valuable thing with Emerging Voices at TheatreOne where they’re encouraging writers to complete work, to show work, et cetera, and sometimes that’s the impetus you need to actually complete something is the idea that there’ll be an audience coming to see it,” Gow said. “[Stream] was a play that just wasn’t finished and needed to be finished.”

The staged reading will take place at the Port Theatre lobby on March 10. It’s the first time Stream has been read anywhere and the first time to Gow’s knowledge that his work has been presented in Nanaimo.

Gow said he’s not known for writing multiple drafts of his scripts and by the time a play reaches the reading stage it’s usually very close to being completed. He said he hopes to stage a full production of Stream soon.

“I’ll be terribly honest, when you’re seeing a play read for the first time aloud, you want confirmation that it’s a great play and it’s ready to be produced,” Gow said. “But sometimes you learn critical things.”

WHAT’S ON … TheatreOne presents a staged reading of Stream by David Gow in the Port Theatre lobby, 125 Front St., on Tuesday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m. Entry by donation.

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